Malaysian Teoh Ze Tong wins Star Search

Star Search winner Teoh Ze Tong (centre), first runner-up Herman Keh (left) and second runner-up Ye Jia Yun (right) secured acting deals with Mediacorp.
Star Search winner Teoh Ze Tong (centre), first runner-up Herman Keh (left) and second runner-up Ye Jia Yun (right) secured acting deals with Mediacorp. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Star Search selected its winner on Sunday, as the Mediacorp talent competition made its return after a nine-year break.

Malaysian Teoh Ze Tong, 26, an assistant manager at Carousell, won the competition while dance student Herman Keh, 23, and 17-year-old polytechnic student Ye Jia Yun, both Singaporeans, were second and third respectively.

The trio secured acting deals with Mediacorp with their wins.

Teoh said in a post-win press conference that he is keen to join the television station full-time.

Touted as one of the favourites before the show, Teoh says: "It was actually a lot of pressure on me. I felt so stressed by those predictions and it was through the help of my mentor and staff that I was able to let go of the stress and do well."

The contestants were mentored by local actors Chen Hanwei, Christopher Lee and Huang Biren.

The competition was decided by a panel of judges that included Hong Kong actors Carina Lau, Simon Yam and Stephen Fung. Mediacorp's chief content officer Doreen Neo and local media industry veteran Man Shu Sum made up the rest of the panel.

Lau, 53, says in a post-show interview: "I'm impressed by the quality of all the candidates given that they're all rookies. I've done stageplays before and it's not easy."

The candidates were assessed on their acting, which accounts for 50 per cent of the assessment scores. Charisma, dance performance and eloquence in a question-and-answer segment made up the other 50 per cent.


The three mentors, who were each assigned four finalists, picked one of their previous dramas to be adapted for the stage for their charges to perform in.

Chen picked the 2011 drama A Song To Remember, Lee picked The Guest People (1997) while Huang picked My Lucky Charm (2005).

Huang, 50, says: "I feel very touched and thankful. I'm satisfied with what they have put up."

Star Search was last held in 2010, when Jeffrey Xu emerged as the winner.

The talent competition was first held in 1988 for the local broadcaster to unearth new talent for local entertainment and the inaugural Star Search was won by actress Zoe Tay.

Head of The Celebrity Agency Ivy Low says this year's competition attracted some 1,200 hopefuls to the audition.

She adds: "Aside from the top three winners, the other nine contestants are also very good. We hope to discover more talent via the competition and we will have programmes tailored to nurture and cultivate them."

In addition to their acting deals, Teoh also won an Audi car while Keh won around $12,000 worth of prizes and Ye won $3,000 worth of prizes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2019, with the headline 'Malaysian Teoh Ze Tong wins Star Search'. Print Edition | Subscribe